290 Henry St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Deacon Hopper who, along with Reverend Errol Harvey, worked to preserve the historic segregated seating area known as the "slave gallery" at St. Augustine's Church on the Lower East Side describes the experience: When I sit here, I'm overcome with sadness that persons of my racial ancestry were subjected to this kind of thing. I'm also overcome with sadness knowing that this happened within the confines of a Christian church. But by the same token the space itself is a testament to the endurance of man under less than civil conditions. The very fact that I'm a part of the Episcopal Church as a member of the ordained clergy is evidence that we stayed and didn't reject Christianity -- that we were able to find something to carry us through in the Gospels. High school student DeAnna Evans wrote these beautiful lines in response to her visit to the "slave gallery": "They think they have controlled my worship By hiding me away from my God But while I'm swaying, holding onto my master's baby instead of my own With my clothes sticking to me in this intense heat... With the preacher talking about a God who probably can't see me I'm gonna praise Him No one will control my worship. No one shall deny me my God."
Credits: Produced by Curtis Fox and Steve Zeitin for "The Next Big Thing" on WNYC. Hosted by Dean Olsher. (8:25)